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Alleged Victim Refuses to Testify in Werdesheims' Trial

"In my heart I didn't want to testify," 16-year-old Corey Ausby, a witness for the state, and the alleged victim in the state's case against two Upper Park Heights brothers, said in court Wednesday.

The 16-year-old alleged victim of a beating involving two members of a Jewish neighborhood watch group declined to testify against his alleged attackers in court.

He also said he didn't want to press charges.

"I feel in the heart I did wrong,” Corey Ausby said, frequently pausing between unfinished sentences. “At the same time I didn't mean to call the police on them (referring to the Werdesheims)," he said Wednesday after Baltimore City Circuit Judge Pamela White ordered him to testify.

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Prosecutors say Eliyahu Werdesheim, now 24, who at the time was a member of the neighborhood watch group Shomrim, and his brother, Avi Werdesheim, now 21, beat Ausby on Nov. 19, 2010.

They say the elder brother was patrolling the Upper Park Heights area for Shomrim, and his brother—who has never been a member of Shomrim—was with him in the car.

They came across the teen and allegedly told him he didn't belong there. They allegedly forced him to the ground and broke his wrist in the process.

Avi Werdesheim allegedly hit Ausby on the head with a two-way radio that belonged to Shomrim.

The brothers face charges of false imprisonment, second-degree assault and deadly weapon with intent to injure, related to the incident in Northwest Baltimore.

Andrew Alperstein and Susan Green, attorneys for the brothers, say the Werdesheims acted in self defense after Ausby wielded a stick with nails protruding from it.

Ausby's testimony Wednesday at the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse in Baltimore was difficult to hear, and difficult to get.

While being questioned by Kevin Wiggins, assistant states attorney, Ausby repeatedly responded with silence, or avoided the microphone he was instructed to use while answering. He often hung his head forward, well below his shoulders.

Ausby explained that on Nov. 19 he was walking along Fallstaff Road, heading to the bus stop after visiting his grandmother who lives in Fallstaff Manor Apartments.

He was to meet his mother and go to the doctor. He said he didn't make it to the bus stop.

When asked why he didn't make it, Ausby hung his head, occasionally sniffled, and otherwise did not respond. Wiggins repeated questions, and also gave his witness time to answer.

White ordered Ausby to respond.

Ausby stood and said, "... I didn't even want to go through the stuff I had to go through. In my heart, I didn't want to testify. I wanted to drop the charges."

White explained to Ausby that the state was responsible for filing the charges. She reminded Ausby that he was an important prosecution witness.

There are a dozen or more witnesses, as well, whose testimony is also important, she said.

When Wiggins asked Ausby if he is "saying it didn't happen," Ausbury replied only "I don't want to testify."

White, noting the "considerable difficulty" Ausby had answering questions, dismissed him.

As a result, White also dismissed a piece of evidence she had already admitted: a photo array that the state had presented to Ausby to help him identify Eliyahu Werdesheim in the alleged attack.

Also during the trial Wednesday, White admitted into evidence the Baltimore City 911 call that Ausby made minutes after the event.

The defendants' attorneys objected, saying the call didn't include the first call that mistakenly went to Baltimore County 911.

They also argued that they could no longer cross-examine Ausby about the call.

Parts of the call were difficult to hear within the courtroom.

Ausby, then 15 years old, is heard saying that "a whole bunch" of people were involved, and that "they're still right here." 

Ausby told the operator that the weapon was "a Walkie Talkie used ... on my head," and that his head had stopped bleeding.

Prosecutors are scheduled to continue presenting their case on Thursday morning.

Mordechai Aryeh April 29, 2012 at 09:52 PM
@SMG: like I said, it's all speculation until the trial's over. but yes, i do believe that if two adults are trailing and then confronting a 15 year old and supposedly telling him he doesn't belong there, I think it is perfectly justified for that person to defend themselves. If these people were trailing him like they are accused of doing, it sure sounds like they initiated the violence.
Jackie April 29, 2012 at 11:09 PM
One kid vs one special forces Israeli. Outcome?
SMG April 30, 2012 at 01:47 AM
First of all, you are still basing this on the well publicized press version, that is now retracted. Second of all, I think you are wrong. Telling me I do not belong someplace is not justification for picking up a stick with a nail in it and attacking the person who said it. Of do you think it does? If they were not capable of defending themselves, and he stuck a nail in the eye of a person who talked to him, would that be justified? Please understand that all your comments are based on a story that is now withdrawn. What do you base your condemnation on? Stories that were retracted, broken wrist that never happened, by a kid who when asked this week by the judge what he had been doing responded that he had been fighting?
SMG April 30, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I would bet that IF he indeed picked up the stick with a nail in it, and attacked, as certainly is a possible scenario, he would not have known that he was starting with someone capable of defending himself. Werdesheim would not have been in uniform, would he? You seem to present that since the kid was hurt and Werdesheim was not, that it MUST have been Werdesheim's fault. Is that the basis of your case, that the person hurt must have been the victim, rather than the initiator? How would it change if the kid had hit with the stick with the nail and done damage? Should Werdesheim allow himself to be hurt so as to be able to then justify defending himself? Jackie, if it was you,and a 15 year old came at you with a stick with a nail sticking out of it, what would you do? Defend yourself, and hold the attacker until the police arrive? Sounds pretty reasonable to me. And how would you feel if the press and a lot of people attacked you for defending yourself? Since that might be the case, why do you condemn based on a now essentially retracted story?
Jackie April 30, 2012 at 02:40 PM
@SMG, let's try this again. If I were walking down the street and some man challenged me for walking down the street, then got out of his car to further pursue the issue, I would feel threatened and consider how to defend myself. In my case, I carry pepper spray. If I had to use the pepper spray, I would stay near my attacker until the police arrived and I could give them a full report (assuming the second man allegedly in the car didn't try to harm me, again the pepper spray). One big difference between me in this situation and the youth is that I am an adult who understands my right to exist on a public walkway and understand the nature of the challenge.

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